How to Protect a New Mom's Sleep
It’s a commonly known fact that your post-partum time will be filled with interrupted sleep. This is a normal and realistic expectation. Our newborns don’t sleep like we do and are meant to wake frequently.
So much advice giving is centred around the baby’s sleep, which yes, is very important. However, maternal sleep is just as important. Given the right amount of rest allows us to cope with the demands of being a new parent. It makes it that much more manageable, and enjoyable.
6 Tips to Protect your Rest and Sleep as a New Mom:
1) Make sleep hygiene a priority
Good sleep hygiene ensures you get to sleep quicker and for longer. Good hygiene measures include:
- Turn off electronic devices 60 minutes before bed, rather read to sleep. If you do use your device put it on night mode.
- Keep your sleep space as sleep-friendly as possible. This means it is a dedicated space for sleep and intimacy not work, laundry and other chores that may distract you from sleep.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoons and evenings.
- Keep some lavender essential oils in the room, either as an oil to rub on your feet before bed or in a diffuser.
2) Take naps
The old saying, nap when the baby naps, isn’t wrong. Your new baby will nap OFTEN, but not necessarily for long periods. While you may not always be able sleep when they do, take this as an opportunity to rest at least. If you do manage to sleep, bonus. A 20-minute cat nap is all it takes to reap the benefits of sleep.
3) Ask for help
If you do have matters that are pressing, ask your support system for help. There is no shame in this. People can bring meals, do shopping, fold the laundry while you and your baby rest.
4) Prioritize movement
Exercising just 30 minutes a day can give you better energy during the day, and better sleep at night.
5) Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition
People that eat well, sleep well. If you are getting good sleep, and rest, you are less likely to eat badly. It’s a cycle. Foods high in B vitamins can help release melatonin (poultry, fish, legumes, eggs and dairy)
6) Look out for signs of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation is a real thing and can have negative impact on your ability to function. Irritability, decreased appetite, forgetfulness, and blurred vision can all be signs of sleep deprivation. If you do experience these things, please call on your support system and make sleep your priority.
If you’re reading this at a 3am feed, put down your phone now mama, it’s time to rest.
Written by Claire Moffatt, Midwife and Lactation Consultant | Grow Lactation
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